7 December 2017

Nigeria: ICPC Interrogates Ex-Appeal Court Judge, Tsamiya Over Alleged N200 Million Bribe

Abuja — The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) arrested a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, for allegedly demanding N200 million bribe from Mr. Nnamdi Orji, in exchange for a favourable judgement in a National Assembly election case that was pending before the Imo State Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal.

According to ICPC Head of Media and Information, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, ":The offence which violates Section 10 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 was alleged to have been committed in 2015, when the retired Justice asked Mr. Orji who was the candidate for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency, to give him N200 million to enable him influence the court's decision in his favour.

"Mr. Orji had approached the Court of Appeal, Imo State Division to seek redress in a case involving an alleged inflation of the result of election in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, which he had earlier lost to his opponent, Mr. Nkole Ndukwe, at the National Assembly Election Tribunal."

She explained that "Mr. Tsamiya was alleged to have convinced the appellant of getting a favourable judgement from the court upon the payment of the money.

"Justice Tsamiya has since been granted bail by the Commission upon the fulfilment of his bail conditions, even as investigation continues.

Also, ICPC has recovered two high-rise buildings within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and N18 million from civil servants in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) and undeserving beneficiaries over alleged breach of the monetisation policy.

Okoduwa stated that "in 2005, under the monetisation policy of ex-President Olusegun Obansanjo, sold some of its houses occupied by federal civil servants to them, in order to cut down the cost of governance.

In recent times, ICPC has been inundated with petitions from patriotic Nigerians, drawing the attention of the commission to allegations of widespread abuse of the policy by beneficiaries and some government workers.

The Commission, while acting on the petitions, discovered through preliminary investigation that a number of civil servants in OHCSF, who benefited from the policy had not paid for the houses since 2005. While some had completely defaulted, others are owing sizeable balance of the money.

The investigation further revealed that 32,305 houses were captured by the committee on the sale of government properties while 24,345 were eventually sold to beneficiaries.

However, civil servants in some government agencies notably OHSCF and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) have allegedly turned the policy into a shoddy business with the aim of defrauding the federal government.

The investigation has so far yielded fruitful result with the recovery of N18, 031,000 from some civil servants and a host of companies including Montgomery & Campbell Ltd and SICCONS, which has been paid into the coffers of the government. ICPC assures Nigerians that anyone found guilty of contravening the law would be charged to court upon conclusion of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel for Maimuna Aliyu, a former Executive Director of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Joe Gadzama, SAN, has undertaken to bring her to court on a new date set for her arraignment.

Maimuna, who was supposed to be arraigned by the (ICPC) before Hon. Justice M. A. Nasir of FCT High Court No 16 sitting in Jabi, Abuja for allegedly defrauding the bank of a huge sum of money, was absent from court even as her defence counsel latched on to non-service of hearing notice by the prosecution.

The ICPC counsel, Ekoi Akponimisingha, argued that the date of the arraignment was known to the defence as her lawyer was present when it was fixed at an earlier arraignment which did not hold and at which Maimuna was also absent.

He further stated that the investigating officer had said he informed Maimuna of the date when he served the charges on her.

The commission in a 3-count, is charging Maimuna for allegedly using her position as the Executive Director of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, to confer corrupt advantage upon herself when she received the sum of N57, 000,000 being the proceeds of the sale of three plots of land in Jabi District, Abuja and failed to remit the said amount to Aso Savings and for also making false statement to officers of the Commission thereby contravening the provisions of Section 19 and 25 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Maimuna is also being accused of criminal breach of trust when she allegedly diverted the N57,000,000 to personal use, an offence that is contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal code.

The trial Judge, Hon. Justice M. A. Nasir, in her ruling adjourned the arraignment to Thursday 14 December, 2017.

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